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Lion Links: 1/4/18

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Happy Thursday, folks. It sure was a busy day yesterday. I wonder what today will have in store for us. We’ll be getting the full MLS schedule release this afternoon, but what about more player announcements? You never know, so check The Mane Land early and often.

The past couple of weeks have been quite rewarding and I’m hopeful that everyone will remember next year not to freak out if Orlando City doesn’t make any moves right away.

We’ve got plenty to discuss, so let’s dive into your morning Lion Links like it’s a big pile of crispy bacon.

Kljestan is Officially a Lion

Rumor became a report and that report is now a reality. Midfielder Sacha Kljestan officially became an Orlando City player yesterday and he’ll bring $150,000 in Targeted Allocation Money with him from Red Bull Arena to Orlando City stadium. Original MLS Lions Carlos Rivas and Tommy Redding head north to Harrison, NJ, in exchange. The Lions left from Orlando City’s inaugural roster are now just Earl Edwards Jr., Cristian Higuita, Cyle Larin, and Rafael Ramos, and there’s a chance that all of them will move on before opening day, particularly Larin. Life comes at you fast.

The New York Red Bulls and MLS each put out a video about Kljestan yesterday, in case you want to see more of what the new Lion brings to the team (he victimized Orlando in a couple clips in the MLS video).

For his part, Sacha seems like he’s ready to come to Orlando and become a contributor for his new team.

Tommy Redding took to Twitter as well, to say goodbye to Orlando City and to the fans who have supported him since the USL days.

Dwyer Now a DP After Signing New Deal

As if the Kljestan news wasn’t enough, the club announced Dom Dwyer has signed a three-year contract that will make him a Designated Player and keep him hanging around his spiritual home for a few more years. This is great news. It was always going to be a priority for Niki Budalic to re-sign Dom after shelling out $1.6 million in total Allocation Money for the former and current Lion. But for nervous types like me, it’s good to have the deal done. Dwyer and Yotun are currently the team’s DPs but with potentially more moves on the horizon and extra TAM lying around, it remains to be seen just how that will all play out before the season kicks off.

Is Josué Colmán Signed, Sealed and Soon to be Delivered?

We might not have to wait long for the next big announcement. TigoSports.com says that Josué Colmán is heading to Orlando City and the deal will become official in the coming hours. According to the site, the Lions are shelling out $3 million for the 19-year-old Paraguayan midfielder to his club, Cerro Porteño. The story further states that the deal will be fore five years and that Colmán will join his teammates in Orlando on Jan. 22. It’s really hard to judge a player by highlight videos but I like the quick, darting movements he makes.

Orlando City Ranked Among World’s Most Valuable Clubs

SoccerEX put out its list of the 100 top-ranked clubs financially and Orlando City comes in at No. 37. MLS put five clubs in the top 30 and Orlando finished sixth among the league’s teams after the LA Galaxy, New York Red Bulls, Seattle Sounders, New York City FC, and New England Revolution.

SoccerEx worked with independent academics to compile the list, which analyzed the assets of each club, their economic power for future investments and their net debts. For the 2018 rankings, SoccerEx analyzed the 2015-16 financial year, meaning newer MLS clubs like Atlanta, Minnesota and LAFC were not eligible to be included.

The final rankings were compiled by assigning a weight to and adding together the following four factors: 1) Playing assets 2) Fixed assets (stadium, training centers, etc.) 3) Cash in the bank and 4) Owner’s potential investment. The club’s net debt was then subtracted from that weighted sum.

The EPL was the only league with more teams in the top 30 than MLS, which placed 13 teams in the top 100. The top three, in order, were Manchester City, Arsenal, and French side PSG.

Here’s where you can see the full list of 100.

Pride’s Morgan, Harris Called Up for USWNT January Camp

Jill Ellis has called up 26 players for inclusion in the USWNT’s January camp — and for the friendly against Denmark on Jan. 21 — and Orlando Pride teammates Alex Morgan and Ashlyn Harris made the cut. Hopefully Morgan can add to her 80 career international goals in the Denmark friendly and Harris will be looking to add to her 14 career caps. Three players who got invited participated in the 2017 Women’s College Cup at Orlando City Stadium — Stanford teammates Andi Sullivan and Tierna Davidson and South Carolina’s Savannah McCaskill. Injured players Tobin Heath (ankle), Samantha Mewis (knee) and Rose Lavelle (hamstring) would have been selected but will not be able to participate. 

Free Kicks

  • This story about Ticketmaster mentions how Orlando City Stadium was the first big test for the Ticketmaster Presence system. It also says the club more than tripled the number of new fan names in its customer database and increased mobile entry to 61 percent from 11 percent.
  • Folks are getting restless about how FIFA is dragging its feet in its anti-doping inquiry as the 2018 World Cup inches closer and closer.
  • Sporting Kansas City traded midfielder Benny Feilhaber to Los Angeles FC for $200 in TAM and $200 in GAM.
  • Those born on this date include Sir Isaac Newton (1643 — going by new calendar date style), legendary football coach Don Shula (1930), R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe (1960), Liverpool’s James Milner (1986), IndyCar racing’s Graham Rahal (1989), and Real Madrid’s Toni Kroos (1990).

That’s all from me this morning. I’ll be back again tomorrow for the vacationing bearded guy, so I’ll see you then!

Lion Links

Lion Links: 2/27/24

Dagur Dan Thorhallsson named to Team of the Matchday, Orlando City hosts Cavalry FC tonight, USWNT loses to Mexico, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC

Happy Tuesday, everyone. Orlando City might not have gotten the result we were hoping for to start MLS play, but it’s a long season and it isn’t easy to play on two fronts when coming back from a long layoff. The Lions will get a chance to get back to winning ways tonight when they face Cavalry FC in Concacaf Champions Cup play. As usual, we have a lot to talk about, so let’s get after it.

Dagur Dan Named to MLS Team of the Matchday

Dagur Dan Thorhallsson has been recognized for his efforts in Orlando City’s opening game against CF Montreal with a place in the MLS Team of the Matchday. He got the start at right back and came on strong in the second half, completing three key passes and 88% of his passes on the night. He also completed a cross, a long ball, and took a team-high four shots, although he only put one on target. Sean Rollins gave him a grade of 6 out of 10 on the night, making him one of the highest-rated Lions not named Pedro Gallese.

Orlando City Chases History

Orlando City already made history last week when the team earned its first ever Concacaf Champions Cup victory with a 3-0 win over Cavalry FC. Tonight, the Lions are looking to make a little more history by earning the club’s first home victory in the competition, as well as advancing to the next round for the first time. OCSC put itself in a good position to do exactly that, as a win, draw, or a loss by two goals or fewer will be enough to see the good guys through to the next round. Orlando defender Kyle Smith shared his thoughts on tonight’s match.

The Calgary Herald provided an interesting look at tonight’s game from the view of the visitors as well. After falling at Starlight Stadium, the Canadian club heads to a tough environment in Orlando as the underdog.

USWNT Falls to Mexico

The United States Women’s National Team lost its final game of the Concacaf W Gold Cup group stage, falling 2-0 to Mexico. Lizbeth Ovalle gave Mexico the lead in the first half and Mayra Pelayo put the nail in the coffin with another goal in stoppage time. It was the USWNT’s first time losing at home against a Concacaf team in 23 years, and first time being beaten by Mexico since 2010. It was a rough game for the USWNT, as it struggled on both sides of the ball. As a result of this loss, the U.S. finish second in its group and will play in the quarterfinals this weekend.

Americans in Midweek Action

There are a number of United States Men’s National Team players taking part in games during the working week, so make sure you don’t miss any of the action. Tomorrow sees Gianluca Busio, Tanner Tessmann, and Venezia host Cittadella in Serie B action, while Giovanni Reyna, Matt Turner, and Nottingham Forest host Manchester United in the FA Cup. Things finish up on Friday, with Christian Pulisic, Yunus Musah, and AC Milan facing Lazio in Serie A, and Folarin Balogun and Monaco facing off against Paris Saint-Germain.

Free Kicks

  • Forward Luis Muriel is available for selection tonight and could make his Orlando City debut.
  • Orlando Pride forward Mariana Larroquette started and had an assist in Argentina’s 3-0 win over the Dominican Republic.

That’s all I have for you this morning. Vamos Orlando!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 2/26/24

Orlando City draws Montreal, USWNT to play Mexico, USMNT news, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Merry Monday morning, Mane Landers. I know that we’re all a little disappointed with the draw in the home opener, but a point is a point, and we go again tomorrow night. It hasn’t taken long for the matches to come fast and furious with Orlando City and the USWNT playing this week. I could not be happier.

We also want to wish a happy birthday to the Orlando Pride’s Morgan Gautrat and OCB’s Dominic Pereira from all of us at The Mane Land.

Orlando City Draws Montreal

It wasn’t the best match Orlando City ever played, but it also wasn’t the worst. The Lions couldn’t find the last bit of quality to get the winning goal despite having most of the possession and plenty of shots. VAR also played a part, though both offside calls were correct, if unfortunate. Pedro Gallese kept the Lions in the match to earn the first point of the season. Check out our match recap.

Lions React to the Result

David Brekalo made his first start for Orlando City and while he acquitted himself well, given his limited time with the team, he is still confident that things will get better with time. He was also impressed with the level of play in MLS and with the Orlando City facilities. Oscar Pareja was disappointed with the result but was understanding of some of the reasons for it. Now, Orlando City gets ready for the two matches this week.

USWNT vs. Mexico

The USWNT takes on Mexico at 10:15 p.m. tonight in the 2024 Concacaf W Gold Cup. The U.S. is already through to the knockout stages of the Gold Cup but is trying to win Group A with a victory over Mexico. Former Orlando Pride forward Alex Morgan is with the team and has scored in the competition. The U.S. has a 16-match winning streak over Mexico and will be looking to extend that to 17.

USMNT News

The USMNT and Juventus were both dealt a blow when Weston McKennie dislocated his shoulder in the 3-2 win over Frosinone on Sunday. Prior to the injury, McKennie contributed two assists, allowing Juventus to stay in second place in Serie A. Now we wait to hear how long McKennie will be out. Check out his assists.

American Striker Folarin Balogun scored a high difficulty goal in Monaco’s 3-2 victory over Lens in Ligue 1. Of course, he also missed a penalty kick later in the same match. Fortunately, Takumi Minamino scored a stoppage-time goal to secure the victory. Take a look at the nice goal.

Free Kicks

  • Liverpool defeated Chelsea 1-0 to win the Carabao Cup on an extra time header by captain Virgil van Dijk. It was the 10th trophy won with Jurgen Klopp as Liverpool manager. Liverpool was missing 11 top players to start the game and lost Ryan Gravenberch during the match.
  • Olivia Moultrie and Jaeden Shaw are making an impact with the USWNT despite being two of the younger players on the team. The impact came in the form of goals for each Moultrie and Shaw.
  • Naomi Girma has impressed for the USWNT in her time so far, but she wants to do more as a part of the newer generation of stars.
  • Brazil defeated Italy 6-4 in the Beach Soccer World Cup on Sunday. The competition took place in Dubai.

That will do it for today. Check back as we get you ready for the match tomorrow night against Cavalry and the trip to Ft. Lauderdale to take on the hated Herons. Vamos Orlando!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 2/23/24

Orlando Pride’s Megan Montefusco placed on season-ending injury list, Orlando City’s chances to win it all, USWNT plays Argentina tonight, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Happy Friday! It’s the final Friday before we spend pretty much every weekend screaming our hearts out for Orlando’s soccer teams. Although I won’t be in Orlando for tomorrow’s game, I’ll be cheering along from Tampa and am looking forward to a strong start to the season from the Lions. Before we get into today’s links, let’s all wish a happy birthday to our favorite octopus, Pedro Gallese!

Megan Montefusco Placed On Season-Ending Injury List

The Orlando Pride suffered a blow to their defense as center back Megan Montefusco was placed on the season-ending injury list after undergoing surgery on her right foot. Montefusco joined the Pride through a trade before the 2022 season and did well coming off the bench last season to keep Orlando’s defense strong as the year wore on. The Pride have options to fill the void, as Carrie Lawrence is back in the fray after missing last season due to injury and Tori Hansen will be back once her time on loan in Australia is up. Orlando could also go out and bring in a veteran to replace Montefusco or sign Cori Dyke, who was drafted by the Pride in the second round. Regardless, losing Montefusco is rough, considering Rafaella will likely be with Brazil for the Olympics this summer.

Orlando City’s Championship Credentials

Joseph Lowery of MLSsoccer.com detailed the strengths and weaknesses of each MLS team in terms of having what it takes to win it all this year. Orlando City followed up a pretty stellar off-season with a nearly perfect preseason. Head Coach Oscar Pareja, winger Ivan Angulo, and midfielder Wilder Cartagena are all sticking around, while Robin Jansson, Facundo Torres, and the front office brain trust of Luiz Muzzi and Ricardo Moreira were locked down as well. Additions of David Brekalo, Luis Muriel, and Nico Lodeiro also ensured this team has few holes. There’s concern that there are too many mouths to feed though, and that no single player can take the reins of the offense. I disagree on that being much of an issue though, as the attack is fluid enough to beat different teams in different ways. The Lions may go without All-Star representation as a result, but they should rack up plenty of points spreading the wealth on offense.

USWNT Takes on Argentina Tonight

The United States Women’s National Team will face Argentina tonight at 10:15 p.m. in its second game of the inaugural Concacaf W Gold Cup. The U.S. did well in its 5-0 win over the Dominican Republic, but there were opportunities to score even more. Since there will be reseeding for the knockout stages, scoring plenty of goals will benefit the USWNT. Midge Purce was excellent in the opener and the USWNT will need to be sharper at putting away good service from the wings. Argentina held Mexico to a scoreless draw in its opener and will likely be hungry to score its first goal of the tournament.

Keeping Up With the Europa League

The first round of the Europa League’s knockout stage came to a close after a drama-filled day of soccer. Only one game went to penalty kicks, as AS Roma beat Feyenoord after a 1-1 draw thanks to two saves from Mile Svilar in the shootout. There was a thriller in Azerbaijan as well. A red card reduced Qarabag FK to 10 men and Braga took full advantage, scoring twice to send the game into extra time. They then traded goals until 19-year-old winger Nariman Akhundzade gave Qarabag the winner in stoppage time. In Germany, SC Freiburg came back from a two-goal deficit to beat Lens in extra time as well.

Elsewhere, a red card doomed Galatasaray as Sparta Prague rallied late to win, and AC Milan survived a hat trick from Rennes midfielder Benjamin Bourigeaud to advance on aggregate. Sporting CP, Marseille, and Benfica all booked their spot in the round of 16 as well, with the draw set for today.

Free Kicks

  • New food vendors will be available for fans at Orlando City and Orlando Pride home games this year, with Flippers Pizzeria Company now a permanent addition. New options for the rotating carts include Pardon My Cheesesteak and Omusubee Japanese Rice Balls.
  • Congratulations to Pride defender Emily Madril on getting married!

That’s all I have for you today. I hope you all have a fantastic Friday and rest of your weekend!

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